U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (2nd L) stifles a sob as he awards astronaut Neil Armstrong (L) with the Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Capitol in Washington November 16, 2011. Also pictured is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (2nd R)
Now that the election is over, it's time for the president and House and Senate leaders to get back to fighting about whether we should drive the economy over a cliff in order to give more tax cuts to the rich, like the Republicans want, or maybe not.

So how'd that first post-election meeting go?

Capitol Hill leaders emerged from their meeting Friday with President Barack Obama sounding optimistic about their ability to reach consensus on vexing tax and spending issues and avoid the impending "fiscal cliff."

Just weeks before an end of year deadline -- when a series of income tax cuts are set to expire just as billions in automatic spending cuts stipulated in the 2011 debt ceiling deal will take effect -- House and Senate leaders suggested they had made progress during their first meeting with President Barack Obama since he won re-election last week.

Everyone offered their empty happy talk about being optimistic that they'll all agree this time around (for the first time ever).

President Barack Obama:

"I think we're all aware that we have some urgent business to do."
Harry Reid:
"I feel very good about what we were able to talk about in there."
John Boehner:
"I believe that the framework that I've outlined is consistent with the president's call for a fair and balanced approach."
Mitch McConnell even generously pretended he's willing to consider ideas that might actually, you know, work:
"We're prepared to put revenue on the table provided we fix the real problem, even though most of my members -- I think, without exception -- believe we're in the dilemma we're in not because we tax too little, but because we spend too much."
Of course, because the end-of-year deadline is fast approaching, Congress will be working round the clock to avoid that economic catastrophe they insist awaits:
Lawmakers are away from Washington on recess for the Thanksgiving holiday next week, during which, Reid said, talks would continue on how to best address the fiscal cliff. He said the leaders hoped to meet with Obama again shortly after the break.
Or not.

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